Thomas, Pat
July 2005
Ecologist;Jul/Aug2005, Vol. 35 Issue 6, p28
This article analyzes the advantages and disadvantages of using wipes in the U.S. Nobody washes their hands anymore, the escalation of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus in hospitals is just one testimony to that fact. Instead, when we are feeling a little grimy, in a car or on a plane, during a summer picnic or at the office, we reach for a disposable wipe. And in the past decade there has been an unprecedented boom in the use of disposable cloths of all kinds. In any supermarket today, as well as ones for removing make-up, nail polish and blackheads and washing cars, furniture, floors, fridges and ovens. Wipes are made from plastic, cellulose and polyester fibers pressed together and soaked in a cleaning fluid. In 2004 their global retail value was approximately $4 billion. Hence, personal and cosmetic wipes account for around 65 percent of this market. They are standard issue for U.S. troops in Iraq. - Figures from North America(North America) suggest that if someone were to load all the disposable wipes purchased there last year onto 18-wheel lorries, the convoy would number 9,000 trucks, stretch for 68 miles, and would be carrying 83,000 tons of used convenience cloths. INSET: ALTERNATIVES.


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